United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Indigenous Peoples

The video we saw today in this session, is a good example of what
happens daily in the life of Indigenous peoples and other communities
who most of them do not have a voice therefore many of their problems
go unreported and unaccounted for. We also associate ourselves with the
statement just presented by the youth
The disruption of ecological balance and the destruction of traditional
livelihood resources, resulting from landscape changes and pollution
brought about by mining activities affects the health and well-being of
indigenous communities.
Chemical materials have not only destroyed traditional survival resources
but have found their way into the food systems. A 2002 toxic release
inventory by the Environmental Protection Agency, called the TRI data,
documents that gold mines were the largest source of mercury emissions
in the tri-state region of Utah, Idaho and Nevada. Overall, TRI revealed
that the hard rock mining industry was the nation?s largest toxic polluter
for the eighth year in a row. Studies in the coal-affected communities in
the Appalachian and other regions of the world, where Indigenous
Communities live, point to high rates of mortality, chronic heart, lung and
kidney diseases. Impacts extend to the community, especially to the
young and old. Among other minerals reported to be associated with
health problems are asbestos, uranium and gold, primarily from the
separation process.
Indigenous Peoples communities in many parts of the world comprise a
disproportionately large number of the communities affected by uranium
mining globally. The International Labor Organization (ILO) reports that
mining is one of the most hazardous industries in which to work.
Recommendations
1. Awareness, sensitization and education is important for
communities and should be a priority so that these communities
know how to handle substances and prevent risks
2. Capacity Building should be a continuous process in order to
update indigenous and local communities on the new updates of
chemicals management and all that is involved in them.
3. Policy formulation on sound management on chemicals should be
participatory
4. Indigenous communities are the poor of the poorest and if we ever
want to archive the millennium development goals, Governments
and industry should engage and develop better working
relationship with Indigenous and local communities by respecting
the rights and traditions.